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Cardinals to meet with Cuban defector

The Cardinals are aggressively pursuing Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, a hard-throwing lefty pitcher.

Just 21 years old, the hype is that Chapman could command $40 million to $60 million on the open market. But most teams in pursuit don't think he will get anywhere near that much.

The Cardinal certainly can't afford to scrape up that sort of dough. And if they could. they ought to throw it onto the Matt Holliday pile instead of using it to go fishing for an iffy prospect who can hit the high 90s on the radar gun ... but doesn't necessarily know where the ball is going.

Touted as the best Cuban defector since Jose Contreras, Chapman's numbers aren't what one might call overwhelming. He had a 5.68 ERA in limited duty in the World Baseball Classic and a 4.03 ERA in 118 1/3 innings in the Cuban National Series.

Supposedly, the Cardinal will meet with Chapman's people on Monday. The White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Orioles and others are thought to also be interested.

Chapman defected while the Cuban national team was playing in a tournament in the Netherlands in July. It was his second try to escape the communist island. In the spring of 2008 he tried to defect and was suspended for a year and held off of Cuba's Olympic team.